Late last Thursday afternoon I got into the car to go get Mark a jar of spaghetti sauce. Simple task, get in the car, drive up to the supermarket and buy a jar of sauce. I turned the key. The radio came on, the air conditioning blower came on, all the lights on the dashboard came on. The engine didn't come on. It didn't crank at all. Our PT Cruiser was sick. No problem, I'd call Sam'sAutomotive in the morning and they'd send a tow truck to come get it. On Friday morning I called and was informed that even if I had it towed in that morning, they wouldn't even be able to look at it until next week. Now that is the sign of a good mechanic, swamped with so much business that they are backed up a week. So I had the car towed up to Pep Boys Auto, because they said that they could work on it that day. Now that is the sign of a person with mental problems, unwilling to wait for the good mechanic so he sends the car to the place that has plenty of time to work on it. It's just the way I am and always have been. I hate to wait.
A monkey with a wrench could have done as good of a job fixing the car as Pep Boys Auto. First they tell me it is the starter, that they can't get the part until Saturday morning, and it will be $350. Okay, fix it. Saturday afternoon I call and they tell me it isn't the starter, it's the ignition cylinder that needs to be replaced and that it will cost $550 because the chip in the key will have to be reprogrammed. There is no chip in the key. I have a 2003, low tech PT Cruiser that is based on a twenty three year old design, and I inform them that they are wrong. The man on the phone at Pep Boys informs me that I am wrong. So I hang up and Google the problem. "PT Cruiser ignition switch." Google comes back and lights up with article after article about the PT Cruiser ignition switch actuator pin not functioning, that costs less than fifty dollars and does not need to be 'reprogrammed'. So I call Pep Boys back and tell them this information. Two hours later they call me back and tell me that it was exactly what Google said it was and that the car was ready. Oh, and it will cost $210. I am now happy. That happiness lasts for nearly thirty minutes, which is the time it took me and Mark to travel up to Pep Boys, pay for the work, and drive away. As we cruise down the street I reach for the radio to turn it on.
"Where are the dashboard lights? I can't tell if the radio is on or not."
"There are no lights anywhere on the dashboard." Mark informs me. "Oh wait, there is one light. It's the little picture of the battery. That light is lit."
"Turn it around, turn the goddamned car around and go back."
Back at Pep Boys I am informed by the manager that they have no responsibility at all for the problem. It has nothing to do with the work they did.
"But all that stuff worked when I gave you the car. You are the only people who touched the car."